New Friday Tutorial: The Half Hexi Gems Quilt Tutorial

MSQC New Tutorial on the Blog!

hexi gems pinnable

It’s time for a New Friday Tutorial (every Friday) and today Jenny has a visitor! This quilt was designed by Lisa Hirsch, member of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild, who won a little contest that got her quilt featured in ModBLOCK.

Jenny and Lisa Hexi Gems

Lisa’s quilt is called Hexi Gems and it is so modern and beautiful! It features our half hexagon template and you can find all the supplies you need HERE.

hexi gems styled

Check out this diagram that includes the size of the finished quilt and everything you need! You can even use the layout as a reference to decide on your fabric contrast for the hexagon gems!

Screenshot 2015-09-03 17.02.39 copy


Click on the button below to WATCH THE TUTORIAL and find everything you’ll need to get started!

shop for supplies tutorial button

Quiltcon 2015 Recap

We had such a blast at Quiltcon earlier this month in Austin, Texas!  Jenny and Natalie were there with our new ModBLOCK Magazine and there was such an amazing display of textile art that would’ve just blown you away!

jenny natalie quiltcon

#quiltcon Making progress on the booth! Quiltcon, here we come!

A photo posted by Missouri Star Quilt Co (@missouriquiltco) on


We had so much fun seeing so many of the industry’s amazing powerhouses, like Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Vanessa Vargas Wilson (Crafty Gemini), Lynne Hagmeier, Cindy and Jina from Riley Blake Designs and so many more!!  We would’ve loved to get photos with everyone! 🙂



We were amazed by all of the beautiful quilts on display!  Here are a few of our favorites:

Photo from
Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander (photo from
Geometric Rainbow by Nicole Daksiewicz (photo from
Geometric Rainbow by Nicole Daksiewicz (photo from
face quilt
Face #1 by Janine Vangool (Judge’s Choice) Photo from

To see all of the winners, visit The Modern Quilt Guild’s Blog.

One of the best things about a convention like this is that Jenny gets to see so many of the people who watch her tutorials on YouTube.  She loves getting to sign books and just visit with all of you who seek her out.

While there, Amy Ellis, fabric designer and ModBLOCK Contributor, interviewed Jenny and included it in her podcast, Quiltcast, so go have a listen!

Thank you to all of you who made it such an amazing experience for us!  We can’t wait until next year!!

**Next year’s Quiltcon will be in Pasadena, California and you can find all the information at

ModBLOCK Contributor: Meet Crafty Gemini

We are so very happy to share this Q&A with Crafty Gemini with you! We just love Vanessa! So much, that we’ve done a few tutorials with her and we even have two retreats scheduled with her!! It was great to hear her answers and learn a little more about her! We hope you enjoy!

Meet Vanessa of Crafty Gemini


Vanessa’s project in ModBLOCK is the ‘Improv Tote’

tote5 copy

What is your sewing/quilting/crafting/art background?

I’m mostly self-taught. I learned to sew while in law school because I was looking for a creative outlet and asked my mom to teach me how to use a sewing machine. I took off from there.

How did you get started in this business? 

I kinda fell into it. I began teaching people how to quilt because I didn’t want to make commissioned works. Then started uploading my lessons via video to YouTube and it took off from there.

Tell us about your collection(s) and /or pattern style. 

I like to design patterns that are quick and easy to make. As a business owner, homesteader and homeschooling mom of two I don’t have time for intricate quilts or piecing techniques. I like to design quilt tops I can whip up in a few days at the most.

What are you inspired by?

I’m inspired by shapes and color mostly. I like to imagine how things would look if I turn them this way or that way and what if I outlined it in this color. Things like that. It’s all a challenging little puzzle so I like to play around and experiment mostly and let the design talk to me.

How would you describe your style?

I would describe my style as modern sprinkled with traditional.  I like to take traditional blocks and make them more modern by increasing the size, using bold solid fabrics, turning them in a different way, etc.  But I just really love the geometric and abstract look of modern quilts. I also find the modern quilts I enjoy to make can be whipped up a lot quicker than most traditional quilts. I love timesavers!

What are some of your greatest challenges in your design process?

Getting the design to look like what I see in my head. I often get sidetracked as I’m experimenting with blocks and placement and completely stray from my initial idea. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing!

Do you have an online presence on social media: Facebook? YouTube? Pinterest? IG?





Are there any releases or upcoming information that you would like included in your article?

In January I launched a subscription based service just for quilters. It will have new project based video courses, tips & tricks videos, live sewing sessions, etc. All the info is on my site:

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? 

Sing! I am so impressed by people who can sing effortlessly. I love music and dancing but I cannot for the life of me sing.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? 

Overhauled my entire diet, implemented natural remedies and healed myself from needing gallbladder surgery. Phew! I lost 70 lbs in the process and that was no easy task.

Who are your creative inspirations, heros? 

This is tough because I’ve always been one to march to the beat of my own drum. Design wise I really just do my own thing.  But as an instructor someone I look up to and try to learn from is Georgia Bonesteel. When I first started quilting I fell in love with her tv show and really appreciated how comfortable she was in front of the camera, how clear and concise her lessons were and how much fun and enthusiasm she exuded as she taught you how to do even the most simple technique. I’m always working on my presentation skills and tweaking my instructional style and watching her helped with that.

Do you have a signature color? If not, what would it be?

My signature color would have to be aquamarine. I love anything in that teal, aqua family.

What trends or colors do you predict being hot in 2015? 

I’m not big on trends or knowing what’s going on. But I saw a lot of jewel tones at Quilt Market this Fall so maybe that’s something.

What is your favorite fabric line of all time? 

Hmmm. That’s a tough one. I like all fabrics and feel like I can find a project for every collection I’ve ever owned. I’m really digging Cotton & Steel and Carolyn Friedlander’s lines right now.

What is your favorite tool you use all the time?

I like the Simplicity EZ Quilting Leftie-Rightie Rulers. I love that I can measure from either end without having to flip the ruler around.

What is unusual or unique about your style/art/patterns? 

I like to make stuff that comes together quickly and easily with no fussing. I love all colors and the brighter they are the better. So, when it comes to color selection I’m not the one to ask for tips! I don’t even look at color. I only look at contrast.

What projects do hope to see made with your collection? OR What upcoming fabric lines would you choose to use with your patterns?

I really want to design a few quilts with the Cotton & Steel collections. Just have to come up with a design first!

Is there a experience or accomplishment you are most proud of?

I’m proud of a lot of things! But in the quilting game I would have to say getting my second ever published quilt design on the cover of Modern Quilts Unlimited was pretty amazing! After having so many designs rejected from different publications to have MQU choose mine for the cover felt great!

Thanks Vanessa!  Can’t wait to see you for our combined retreat! 🙂

ModBLOCK Contributor: Meet Molli Sparkles

Today we have yet another fabulous contributor Q&A! You definitely don’t want to miss this one! Molli said in an Instagram post about ModBLOCK “I peed my pants a little when they contacted me!” Well we were just as excited when he said yes!!!

Meet Molli Sparkles


Molli was featured in ModBLOCK with an article called, “Watch Your Tone”

What is your sewing/quilting/crafting/art background?

I have always created. As a child I would help my grandmother lay out her quilts on her design room floor, and I think this has influenced my own quilt design consciousness today. I have an MFA in photography, but I never thought I’d be using those skills to photograph my own quilts! I’m a self-taught quilter, but I did ask my grandmother and the Internet plenty of questions along the way!

How did you get started in this business?

I wanted to create a shared memory with my grandmother. So on a visit home to Oklahoma, I got off the plane and said to her, “Let’s make a quilt together!” She thought I was crazy, nothing unusual there, but five days later we had a finished quilt top of my design. That quilt lives on my bed and I think about our relationship every time I look at it. As for the blogging, well I naively thought, “I’ll start a blog about quilting, I bet no one’s done that before.” Ummm.

What are you inspired by?

Oh, there’s inspiration all around us! Fabric will always inspire, but I like to look in unusual places like pop songs, the emotions of a relationship, old family photographs, and art gallery visits. Then there’s that other feeling you get, that urgency to create; it takes over where inspiration stops. Sometimes you just have to listen to that and see what happens!

How would you describe your style?

In my first year of art school, Professor Julie Schneider said to me with her clever smile, “If you think you know your style now, you don’t. You have to wait until the end to figure it out.” The end? The end of what? The semester? Art school? Life? Since then, I’ve taken that to mean, don’t let your style define what you create. Instead, let what you create define your style. Then you can look back at any stage, and confidently say, that your output is genuinely you.

What are some of your greatest challenges in your design process?

My greatest challenge is staying true to my original voice. There’s so much beauty in our quilt community that it’s challenging to shed that influence. In our pervasive world of social media, I think it’s important to be aware of it, but not let it consume your time and individuality. I like to think I’m marching to the beat of my own drum as hard as Naomi Campbell works a runway, but there are times you have to step outside yourself for some clarity. Why am I doing this? Where is this coming from? Stay focused on the beauty of your own voice, so you can add to the greater chorus of others.

Do you have an online presence on social media: Facebook? YouTube? Pinterest? IG?


Facebook: Molli Sparkles

Instagram: @molli_sparkles

 What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela. When I read that recently, it changed my entire outlook. Standing up to apartheid is hard, as for this y-seam, I just need to learn how to do it. Hard is no longer an excuse for me.

Who are your creative inspirations or heros?

I like to think if Madonna, Kylie, and Mariah were quilters, we’d totally be in a quilt bee together. Even though they’re musicians, I appreciate their visual aesthetic, and the amazing achievements they’ve accomplished from such humble beginnings.

 Do you have a signature color? If not, what would it be?

My signature colour would definitely just be called Sparkle, because we all need some of it in our lives!

What trends or colors do you predict being hot in 2015?

Darker shades of blue, like cobalt, ink, sapphire and indigo. It’s not just navy anymore!

Is there a experience or accomplishment you are most proud of?

I’ve been quilting and blogging for only two and half years, and I’ve had some amazing experiences in such a short time. Being a Guest Artist at the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair, along with a feature on Australia’s The Today Show would have to rank pretty highly on my list!

Thanks, Molli! We loved hearing your answers to these questions! Don’t miss our next feature!! 🙂 

ModBLOCK Contributor: Meet Shea Henderson

Today we are pleased to share more about our great friend, amazing quilter and author, Shea Henderson! Shea is a local, living just an hour South of us here in Hamilton. She actually worked for us a while back and we were so excited to work with her again while working on ModBLOCK together.

Meet Shea Henderson


Shea’s project in ModBLOCK is ‘Broken Bars’

Screenshot 2015-02-18 11.55.00

What is your sewing/quilting/crafting/art background?
I’m part of the demographic of women in their 30s who didn’t learn to sew in school (outside of one small project in middle school!), but are now taking up the craft with much vigor. I am lucky to have a mom who knows a lot about sewing and taught me when I was young, though! Passing on that love for sewing is something I am wildly passionate about, which is what led to my book School of Sewing, which is a beginner sewing book that also follows along with my group of eight friends whom I taught to sew over the course of a year.
How did you get started in this business?
My blog (and later, my business) name comes from the idea that an empty bobbin means you have been sewing and sewing and sewing for someone you love. A few years ago I left the world of middle school math teaching to stay home with our children. Patterns were always something I wanted to do and I love how it combines my love for the trifecta of teaching, math and sewing.
Tell us about your collection(s) and/or pattern style:
Much of what I design is based on pure need or functionality for myself or my family. I needed a sewing machine cover, so I designed the pattern Cover Up. I wanted to replace our store bought Christmas stockings, so I designed my Sleigh Bells stockings pattern. I want to be able to use what I make and, like Jenny often says, “wear it down to the last thread.”
What are you inspired by?
Color combinations are what I am drawn to first, then I think of shapes and layout. I see some really amazing colors together and I think, “Oh! I want to make something with those!” Seems backward, I am sure! I’m also inspired to make specific things because we have a need for them… much like the Christmas stockings I mentioned earlier!
How would you describe your style?
I like really clean lines and solid or near-solid fabrics.  I have a gigantic amount of love for topstitching!  Above all, I want a project to be something that isn’t fussy but also looks professionally finished.
What are some of you greatest challenges in your design process?
Time. And the lack of it! I have three young children (our oldest is 6) and time at my machine just isn’t as much as I’d like. I like having time to really test and prototype a project to be sure the fit and shape and function are at their very best. Maybe one day I’ll find those elusive extra hours in the day!
Do you have an online presence on social media?
I do! I’m active on Instagram @emptybobbin and love sharing current projects and works in progress. I have a Pinterest page and blog, too, but Instagram is usually where you’ll find me.
Are there any releases or upcoming events you have coming up that you’d like us to know about?
Right now I’m working to promote my book, School of Sewing. You can see a lot of info about it at (I dare you to watch the trailer and NOT get the itch to teach someone to sew!) I’ll be doing a book signing at Missouri Star on April 18th! I’m really looking forward to that!
Do you have a signature color?  If so, what do you like about it?
This is going to sound crazy, but…. gray. Specifically Interweave Chambray in Pepper or Essex Linen in Yard Dyed Black. I seem to be using them in everything I make lately. From quilts and bags to dresses for my daughter.
What is you favorite fabric line of all time?
I use solids most often, but I have fallen for many pieces from the Cotton + Steel collections. I also routinely find myself using Robert Kaufman Essex Linen, Railroad Denim and Interweave Chambray. I LOVE those!
What is your favorite tool that you use all the time?
I love my Triangle Square Up Ruler for easily trimming half-square triangles with two easy cuts. It’s such a huge time saver! I also love using thread conditioner when I hand sew binding. No more twisting and knotting!
What is unusual or unique about your style/art/patterns?
I’m very proud of the quality of the instructions and illustrations and “extras” in the tips. I think my teaching background really shows there. Giving size options and showing beautiful photos of many examples of finished quilts in the pattern is a big deal for me. I use a lot of solids, so that if someone wants to make the cover samples, it is easier for them to source the fabrics.  I think the latest Empty Bobbin pattern, Parallels is a perfect example of that.
Is there an experience or accomplishment you are most proud of?
Most recently, it would be the process of writing my book and seeing my sewing students (my friends!) learn to sew (and learn to love sewing!). Now that the book is out, hearing from people who have experienced success with a skill they never thought they’d “get” is deeply gratifying. One of my friends profiled in the book just finished her third quilt! And a year ago, she didn’t know how to thread her machine. THAT is awesome and makes my heart so very happy!
Thanks, Shea! Check back for more Q&A’s with the other ModBLOCK contributors! 🙂